On March 19 last year, inside the dock at the Staten Island Supreme Court, conspiracy-theorist Anthony Comello raised his cuffed hands and opened a fist.
Scrawled in blue pen on his left palm were ramblings and symbols. In the middle of the jumbled words was the letter 'Q', a reference to his deeply-rooted belief in QAnon's absurd theories.
The 25-year-old is accused of murdering mob boss Francesco Cali because, according to his own lawyer, Cali was part of "the Deep State" – a member of the liberal cabal of Satan-worshipping elites engaged in a co-ordinated coup to undermine President Donald Trump.
It is a theory that fair-minded individuals casually dismiss as fringe-thinking nonsense, but it is no longer on the fringes. What was once confined to message boards online is now part of a national movement supported by Donald Trump himself.
An analysis by Media Matters, a not-for-profit media-monitoring group that describes its work as "correcting conservative misinformation in the US media", Trump has amplified accounts affiliated with QAnon more than 265 times.
He has refused to condemn the group when asked directly about whether he believes there is a global child sex-trafficking ring that includes members of the media, politicians and celebrities who are plotting against him.
"I've heard these are people that love our country," he said in August in the White House briefing room.
The US President amplifying those dangerous conspiracies is concerning. That other members of the Republican Party believe the conspiracy has merit is even more troubling.
Outgoing Republican Denver Riggleman, who is set to embarrass the President with his final act this week when he denounces QAnon on the floor of the House, said this in an interview recently:
"There are elected officials who believe (in QAnon). And that should just blow people's minds," he told Wired.
"I'm not going to say names, but I'll tell you there's a lot larger percentage in the Republican Party who believe there's a Deep State coup or cabal than people might think."
Congressman Riggleman, from Virginia, has been a vocal critic of QAnon but he is on his own condemning the cult-like group within the Republican Party.
It is part of the reason he will not be seeking re-election.
"The reason I'm here and not running for re-election is because I was so outspoken," he said.
"If you do research on me, the issue for me is that I refused to play the game when I knew I had to. And something like QAnon, if I automatically identify this as insane, I'm going against what the party objective is, which is to get people re-elected."
In a tense moment between Mr Trump and NBC News' Savannah Guthrie in October, the President was asked directly about QAnon.
Despite amplifying their views more than 265 times on social media, he told the town hall interview: "I know nothing about it. I do know they are very much against paedophilia – they fight it very hard ... I'll tell you about what I do know about. I know about Antifa and I know about the radical Left."
CNN reports that Trump told a recent meeting that QAnon involves people "basically believe in good government".
Congressman Riggleman's speech will be the second time in a week that the President has been undermined and embarrassed by his own party.
On Tuesday, Michigan congressman Paul Mitchell quit the Republican Party because of the President's conduct after his election loss to president-elect Joe Biden.
Mitchell, a two-term Republican who voted for Trump this year "despite some reservations about four more years under his leadership", shared a damning letter about top GOP officials on social media, writing that he was "disaffiliating" from the party, effective immediately.
He warned that elected Republicans could help the President do "long-term harm to our democracy" by continuing to accommodate and amplify Trump's unsubstantiated claims of widespread voter fraud.
"It is unacceptable for political candidates to treat our election system as though we are a third-world nation and incite distrust of something so basic as the sanctity of our vote," Mitchell wrote.
He then decried Republican attacks on the Supreme Court "just because its judges, both liberal and conservative, did not rule with (Trump's) side or that 'the Court failed him'".